HomeServe UK

HomeServe UK

May 07, 2013 04:00 ET

HomeServe Shares Five DIY Tips to Pass Down to Your Kids

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - May 7, 2013) - Kids these days! Britain's young people are officially less competent than ever when it comes to basic DIY skills, a HomeServe study has revealed. What were once regarded as need-to-know skills have fallen by the wayside, with an overreliance on mum and dad is keeping this generation's teens out of the tool shed and in the dark when it comes to DIY.

Among 18-24 year olds, one in six admitted to not being a able to change a light bulb, two-thirds would struggle bleeding a radiator, six out of 10 shudder at the thought of a blocked drain - and a hair-raising 90% wouldn't know how to rewire a plug.

In light of these figures, HomeServe have released their top tips to pass down to the next generation:

1. How to change a light bulb

How many teenagers does it take to change a light bulb? According to HomeServe, you'd need half a dozen to be certain, as this is a skill that one in six young people don't possess. But some gentle encouragement and a little imparted wisdom will undoubtedly brighten up the nation - in every sense of the word.

Useful Tip: One of the few difficulties is knowing which way to actually turn the bulb if it's a screw-type fitting. A general rule of thumb is 'Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey'. Turn the bulb right to screw it into the socket and left to release it.

Useful Tip: If you've forgotten if the light switch was off or on before the bulb blew just remember that the general rule with UK light switches is 'down is on'.

2. How to rewire a plug

Shocking! 90% of Britain's young people don't feel that they could confidently rewire a plug. But this is probably due to misconceptions about complicated wire arrangements and fears over being electrocuted.

You don't need a master's degree in electrical engineering to remember which wire goes where. In fact, the English alphabet contains all the information you need.

Useful Tip: The way to remember the wire arrangement is this: the Black wire connects to the Brass screw - both begin with B. The Ground wire connects to the Green screw - both begin with G. And the White wire goes in the White screw - you get the idea.

3. How to bleed a radiator

In many households bleeding the radiators is a perennial dad job. But that's no reason for everybody else to give rectifying a cold radiator the cold shoulder.

Useful Tip: Knowing when the radiator actually needs bleeding is just as useful as being able to bleed the thing. To test, let the heating come on and then feel the radiator surface - if it's cold at the top and warm at the bottom then it needs bleeding. If it's cold in middle or bottom, you may need a plumber.

Useful Tip: Radiators need bleeding when there's air in the system, which stops them filling with hot water. To safely bleed them you need to release the air with a special key, as demonstrated in this simple video: How to bleed a radiator.

4. How to unblock a drain

Teenagers are particularly good at putting food, hair and other unmentionables down plugholes, but less good at dealing with it themselves. After all, few jobs around the home make people as squeamish as a clogged drain, which is one reason why so many are unwilling to learn how to clear them.

Useful Tip: If a bathroom or kitchen sink or a bath is blocked, you can clear it with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Pour about three quarters of a cup of dry baking powder down the drain, followed by about half a cup of vinegar. Then cover the plughole with a damp cloth. The baking powder will react with vinegar and break down most blockages. Let the mixture fizz away for half an hour and then rinse clear with hot water.

5. How to strip wallpaper

Odds are, at some point throughout their teenage years, your son or daughter will demand that their room be redecorated - usually around the time they realise that Thomas the Tank Engine wallpaper is no longer socially acceptable.

But the fact that 48% of young people profess to have no idea how to strip and put up wallpaper is evidence that parents are missing the perfect opportunity to engage their child in a DIY crash course.

Useful Tip: Before decorating, you need to strip your walls, which can be as big a job as hanging new wallpaper. Fabric softener is an excellent tool in removing wallpaper and far cheaper than paint stripper. Mix with hot water, spray onto the walls and wait for the wallpaper and glue to soften before scraping off with a metal scraper. This will also leave the room smelling fresh.

Useful Tip: An amateur, no matter how keen to impress, is likely to have issues with bubbles appearing under the wallpaper surface. Simply take a pin, prick the bubble and apply a thin layer of paste to the affected area.

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